Sjir Hoeijmakers

1493 karmaJoined Dec 2015


Answer by Sjir HoeijmakersApr 19, 202340

Hi Maxim, thanks for your question. Just a very quick note that (1) Iason's claim is unlikely to be true, at least in many cases (see e.g. GiveWell on the funding opportunities they expect to find in the coming few years and the extent to which they expect them to be filled here), (2) his claim seems to stem from 2016 (so I'm not sure whether he would still support it).

I think you got it quite well :). Depending on the system and your particular situation, you could indeed use tax relief on future income/capital gains for donations you would make "from income in earlier years" (as money is fungible), and this could account for a large proportion of the relief you would get on it now.

Answer by Sjir HoeijmakersApr 06, 202330

Thanks for raising this question!

One consideration I'd add that I don't yet see reflected in your post or in the comments is that it could very well be that there will still be some sort of tax relief when you give later (and that it could even be larger at that point!), so tax relief may inform the giving now vs giving later question less than it may seem at first sight.

It's possible there is reasonable case to be made that tax relief on money donated later is going to be (much) lower in expectation than on money donated now (e.g. perhaps the current system priviliges small yearly donations over large single ones, or perhaps there are longer-term downward trends in policy around tax relief), but that case needs to be made in order to make the claim that current tax relief systems push (strongly) in the direction of giving now.

(I don't know much about this at all, but FWIW my best guess would be tax relief for an individual giving later will be slightly lower in expectation than for an individual giving now, which would push slightly - but only slightly! - in the direction of giving now)

Thanks for asking these in-depth questions, Stan!

  1. The donation distribution statistics do not exclude our top 10 donors (neither on the pledge nor on the non-pledge side), so our takeaways from those aren't influenced. I should also clarify that we do not exclude all top 10 donors (on either the pledge or non-pledge side) from all of our donation estimates that influence the giving multiplier: we only exclude all top 10 pledge donors from our estimates of the value of the pledge (for more detail on how we treated large donors differently and why, see this appendix). Please also note that we haven't (yet) made any decisions on which groups to target more or less on the basis of these results: our takeaways will inform our organisation-wide strategic discussions going forwards but we haven't had any of those yet - as we have only just finished this evaluation - and - as we also emphasize in the report - the takeaways provide updates on our views but not our all-things-considered views.

  2. This is a great question and I think points at the importance of considering the difference between marginal and average cost-effectiveness when interpreting our findings: as you say, many people might have still donated "had GWWC existed from 2020 in a very minimal form", i.e. the first few dollars spent on GWWC may be worth a lot more than the last few dollars spent on it. As we note in the plans for future evaluations section, we are interested in making further estimates like the one you suggest (i.e. considering only a part of our activities) and will consider doing so in the future; we just didn't get to doing this in this evaluation and chose to make an estimate of our total impact (i.e. considering us not existing as the counterfactual) first.

  3. We explain how we deal with this in this appendix. In short, we use two approaches, one of which counts all the impact of a pledge in the year the pledge is taken and the other in the years donations are made against that pledge. We take a weighted average of these two approaches to avoid double-counting our impact across different years.

Hi Luis, thank you for writing this up! I think it's a well-written forum post that clarifies important distinctions and makes valuable points, and on a topic that AFAIK is being considered and discussed by many people in the community currently.

I agree with most of your points. In fact, I've come around on one that we previously disagreed on, namely on defining "local priorities research" more restrictively than how many people are currently using it: I now see more of the value of having "local" in LPR clearly refer to the altruistic scope rather than the resources being prioritised, consistent and contrasting with the "global" in GPR referring to the global altruistic scope.

There are two further comments/suggestions I'd like to make:

Consider using a different name than "contextualization research"

I think adding new terminology that isn't immediately clear should be avoided whenever possible, and CR isn't self-explanatory nor does defining this new term look unavoidable to me. I think using something like "resource-specific GPR" or "targeted GPR" - though a mouthful - is much clearer than CR, because (1) the terms themselves are more self-explanatory (including by using the word "priorities") and (2) it's immediately clear that they refer to a subset of GPR.

There may be cases in which "pure" LPR is worth doing for local groups

I expect there are cases in which it will be worth doing LPR (according to your new restricted definition) as a local group from the perspective of doing the most good impartially even when it doesn't overlap with CR/resource-specific GPR. In other words, I expect there to be cases where doing "pure" LPR would be a recommendation coming out of doing resource-specific GPR for a local group.

Take your Latin American example: my guess is it will often be valuable to do the type of research you link to there even if you expect not to find anything close to competitive to GW top charities, and even if there isn't a large pot of restricted funds that may be influenced by it.

A few reasons for doing LPR in such a case could be:

  • showing one cares and is knowledgeable about local problems before making the claim one should focus on other geographies or cause areas

  • substantiating and better being able to communicate the claim that donations go further in those other countries or cause areas

  • using this as a training opportunity for charity researchers who could later move on to charity evaluation that would qualify as GPR

As we've discussed elsewhere there are clear trade-offs and risks for engaging in LPR at a local group level (e.g. opportunity costs, risk of motivated reasoning or value drift) - so I share your caution in recommending this as an activity. However, I don't think a blanket recommendation against doing (well-considered and careful) LPR at a local group level is justified either, for the above reasons.

Ok, sounds good, I've added you to the list; looking forward to what CEARCH will come up with!

Thanks Joel, happy to add CEARCH; just a quick check: are you planning/aiming to publish funding opportunity recommendations this year? (the aim for this list is to really be about publicly available funding opportunities; e.g. it doesn't include Rethink Priorities even though they do related/relevant research)

Thanks David!

  • CN is currently omitted on purpose - doesn't fit definition of (self-identified) EA-inspired research or fundraising - but I could see a case for them being included in the near term (had a really good chat with them this week about their plans and potential collaborations with GWWC, coincidentally). I'm happy to be challenged on this of course.
  • I'll add Charity Elections as a separate project.

Thanks for the suggestions Nicole!

  • I'll add a country column
  • Would be happy for the sheet to be embedded on Forum but don't immediately know how to do it and don't think it's a high priority, so if someone wants to do this please lmk :)
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